It’s been the hottest summer I can remember. Day after day with a heat index of 110+ and the whole world feeling like it’s on fire. Not a drop of rain in weeks, no matter who’s doing the rain dance or how fancy. Those liars on the Weather Channel had promised rain for days. Yes, Jim, even you. Still nothing.
This afternoon the lie became the truth and in less than half an hour Em was outside sweeping water furiously away from the back door.
We needed sandbags, but sandbags are an emergency purchase that seems all-important when you can’t drive through flooded streets to buy them. To make matters worse, the place selling bags doesn’t have sand, and vice-versa. Somehow, I always put those on the to-do list after a hard rain and then forget about them entirely. It might be time to break that cycle.
Better yet, we might want to put in a french drain so we’ll need neither sandbags nor spare flood brooms. There’s an idea.
Forty days and forty nights, or thereabouts. A break here and there doesn’t really matter, because the rain only eases to lure me outside so it can begin again.
And it’s cold. Well, plenty cold for Arkansas. It’s in the 60’s here and all of us are scrambling for winter coats and portable heaters. It’s like living Portland. Or London.
I‘m guessing that neither place smells as bad as this, though. In the spring, we generally have quite a bit of nasty weather, but the temperature is lifting, greenness is poking out of the ground, and everything takes on a sort of sweet respiration. In the mack-daddy steam of the summer when temps hover in the 100s and 110s, the rain makes a sort of sizzling hot-tar smell. It goes away though, and on the worst days going out smells a little it’s raining tadpoles.
In the fall, it rains mud-bottom river catfish everywhere. It’s thick, I tell you, like the clouds just sucked up the worst parts of the Arkansas River and dumped it on your new shoes. If you stand still long enough in this weather, you’ll smell like you’ve fallen off a river barge. Musty. Mudcat-fishy.
This afternoon I trudged across campus in the mist and landed in a classroom that had the air off, the windows down tight, and the fifth class in a row of twenty or so students dripping catfish-rain all over the industrial carpeting. Ten minutes in, the smell was unbearable.
The Weather Channel – which is unfailingly incorrect most of the time – says we’ll be out of this mudcat-smelling hell by Friday. We get the weekend off, it seems. Monday it’s supposed to throw down again and last for days.
I’m actually looking forward to the ice storms.